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Author Interview: Kerstin Espinosa Rosero

Kerstin Espinosa Rosero is the author of Burn Red Skies, which is currently an SPFBO 7 finalist.


Use three to five words to describe yourself.

Writing, drawing, kickboxing. Chaotic neutral.

Can you give us a little background on your debut?

Burn Red Skies is the first book in an epic fantasy series that has airship smugglers, elemental magic, sword lesbians, and dragons. It is my debut novel, and I was ecstatic to find out it was chosen to be an SPFBO7 finalist. The next book in the series will come out early next year!

Can you give us any insight into your planning and writing process?

Start big, end small. I write everything I want to say, which includes giant blocks of worldbuilding and character notes, but refine it over several rounds. The first draft of Burn Red Skies was over 1,200 pages. The final version was 426.

Silence or music or other when writing/editing?

The Attack on Titan soundtrack works about 80% of the time. Video game music takes care of the rest, especially Final Fantasy. In fact, I’m listening to “Roses of May” from FFIX right now. Music helps me reach that last emotional note, so I always listen to it while I write.

Based on your experience, can you offer a piece of advice to budding authors?

Practical: if you’re an indie author, splurge on a good cover. Even as a reader, I sometimes pick up books based on attractive covers. Nothing can replace good storytelling, but a cover is the first impression readers will have of your book.

For your sanity: don’t think of readership as a limited resource. Keep in mind that, especially in the world of indie SFF, a lot of readers are fellow indie SFF writers, so it’s a community that best thrives on support and solidarity, not competition.

You can erase one book or series from your mind entirely so that you can read it again for a first time, which do you erase?

Anything I read for school, to be honest. We had a few cool reads in high school ”like Mists of Avalon and 1984”that I just couldn’t get into because we spent more time analyzing symbols than falling in love with words.

Who are your favourite book characters?

Gideon the Ninth. And Gandalf.

Do you have any favourite magic systems?

The guardian force (GF) system in Final Fantasy VIII. Guardian forces creatures you can summon, and the more you use them, the more you bond with them. Bonding with them unlocks new abilities and stat growth. I like GFs because they are, in my opinion, a well-defined magic system that is based on mutual respect for forces beyond our control. Like even the most badass wielders are still at the creature’s mercy.

You can bring one world from a book or series to life and live there, which world do you choose

Discworld would be fun.

What book or series would you love to see on the big screen?

I want see how folks would attempt Gideon the Ninth on the big screen, or as a limited series.

You can collaborate with one other author, who do you choose?

Honestly, I would love to collaborate with another fantasy author, but as a concept artist/illustrator. I love drawing dragons, weapons, and fantastical things. Drawing is what got me into writing in the first place.

Have any cultures/civilisations inspired your writing?

Not really. There and bits and pieces of customs from places I lived and grew up in, but I wouldn’t call any civilization a main source of inspiration.

You can have one superpower, what is it?

Teleportation. I would use it for the laziest reasons, like climbing stairs.

You can meet any five people in the world, who would you choose?

Michelle Yeoh, x5.

Would you rather…

  • ride a dragon or fly a spaceship?
  • have the ability to fly or be indestructible?
    • Indestructible. Because I’d have a dragon.
  • be an expert swordsman or archer?
    • Swordsman
  • be able to wield elemental magic or raise and control the dead?
    • Elemental magic. Actually, I’m basically just describing my Skyrim character.
  • live in a city under the ocean or one floating in the clouds?
    • Floating in the clouds.
  • be able to see the past or see the future?
    • Future

Thank you for taking the time, we really appreciate it.